Google partners with Cisco to roll out free high-speed Wi-Fi zones in India

Varun Aggarwal Kochi | Updated on July 29, 2019 Published on July 29, 2019

Three years ago, Google partnered with Railtel, the telecom arm of Indian railways

Pilots begin in Bangalore

Cisco and Google on Monday announced plans to roll out free high-speed Wi-Fi zones across India with Google’s gStation.

Cisco will work with gStation platform to provide communities around the country access to a free, open, high-quality public Wi-Fi.

The service is already live in 25 locations in Bangalore. According to Google, it will be available in 500 locations in Bangalore over the next few months.

Sajith Sivanandan, Managing Director and Business Head, Google Pay and Next Billion User Initiatives, India, said, “The results from gStation’s railway station roll-out have been hugely encouraging, and we’re delighted to join hands with Cisco to broaden gStation’s coverage in the city of Bengaluru. ”

Not Google’s first

This is not the first of such partnerships for Google however. Three years ago, Google partnered with Railtel, the telecom arm of Indian railways through which they are already offering free Wifi on 400 railway stations across the country.

Earlier this year, the company teamed up with BSNL, which set up 38,000 BSNL WiFi hotspot locations in India. One can access these by buying WiFi vouchers that are priced starting at Rs 19.

Sameer Garde, President, Cisco India & SAARC, commented, “This represents a significant growth opportunity, the demand for public Wi-Fi hotspots is expected to go up by 100X over the next 3 years, creating new markets for Cisco and our partners.”

India needs an additional 8 million hotspots

According to a report by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI), there is one WiFi hotspot for every 150 people globally. In India, eight million additional hotspots must be installed to achieve the same ratio, creating new market opportunities for infrastructure providers and internet service providers. India has only 52,000 Wi-Fi hotspots today, necessitating a proactive strategy to make high-speed Wi-Fi hotspots ubiquitous across the country.

Public Wi-Fi also provides an opportunity to develop a broader connectivity ecosystem, which can not only benefit users and wireless ISPs but also telecom service providers, handset manufacturers, and venue owners.

According to the Cisco VNI report, nearly 59 per cent of Internet traffic will be offloaded from cellular networks to Wi-Fi by 2022, wherein lies the tremendous opportunity for ubiquitous dispersion of Wi-Fi.

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Published on July 29, 2019
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